Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Living In the Limelight

By all intents and purposes, I consider myself to be a performer - not just an actor, a musician, or a comedian.  Yes, the latter list of titles describe a facet of what I have to offer the entertainment world but don't sum up everything I can and want to do.  This distinction came up in a passionate discussion I had a couple of nights ago.

In a very polite way I was asked to be mindful of how I should be acting on stage.  The compliant  was that my natural actions on stage distract from the vibe, the attitude, or the mood of a show.  From what I've learned in many shows is that sometimes I do get a bit overzealous and do things to focus attention onto me.  However, most of the time, I'm very mindful about who has focus and where it needs to lie.  So, this hit a little nerve and got things a bit heated.  I responded, "No offense to anyone in this room  but I'm the only one here who performs on a stage on a regular basis and is very comfortable on stage."  I said it with such impunity and vigor that there was no room for argument there. 

What really unnerved me was this prefabricated notion of what "the mood" of the show "should be" - as if there's a manual describing one-to-one relationships between actions on-stage and reactions off-stage.  What I've learned is that no crowd is ever the same night to night.  What works in one show won't work in another and vice-versa.  With my current run of "Ctrl+Alt+Deport", I've been amazed as to how disparate the crowds are each night we perform.  We think "Oh, the crowd is gonna LOVE this line!" and the line doesn't receive a reaction while something we totally didn't anticipate kills.  The only constant one can count on is how they conduct themselves when that spotlight is turned on. If you get into the habit of trying to dictate what they're going to react to, you'll be disappointed almost all of the time.

For these reasons, I refuse to subscribe to some inorganic notion of just how things should be when my craft as a performer is concerned.  The task at hand now is to have everyone involved on-stage to figure out their personas and working all of our individual expressions into a cohesive unit at every show.

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